6 Weird Jobs That Pay Way More Than You Would Expect


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Maybe you're just not cut out to be in health care or wear a suit and tie to work every day. The list of fastest growing jobs over the next ten years just doesn't include anything that would motivate you to get out of bed every morning? If so, consider these off-the-beaten-path careers that pay way more than you would expect.

Wind turbine service technician – If you like working outdoors, appreciate a job with a view – and don't have a fear of heights – being a "wind tech" could be for you. You may start out at just $15 per hour, but experienced technicians can pull down up to $50 an hour. And with over 46,000 wind turbines in 39 states and Puerto Rico, finding a job is a breeze. About $15 billion is invested in new projects every year, resulting in an industry posting average annual growth of more than 19% over the past five years, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Sommelier – If you know the difference between a pinot grigio and a pinot noir, and know which one to pair with fish, you may want to be the resident wine expert for the beverage service at a restaurant or hotel. To gain elite credentials for the highest wage, consider the Advanced Sommeliers' exam, the third stage of a four-step process in becoming a Master Sommelier, a designation held by only 211 sommeliers worldwide. According to the Court of Master Sommeliers, wine steward earnings can begin at just $28,000 but rise as high as $80,000 to $160,000 for a Master Sommelier. Excluding tips.

Rodeo clown – Standup comedy just too tame for you? Then consider delivering your gags on the run, while dodging bulls and dismounted cowboys. Rodeo clowns are paid per performance, with novice red noses at small town affairs pulling in just a couple hundred dollars per show. But if you're looking to fill the big shoes, large rodeos can pay popular clowns more than $2,000 for a single performance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And you'll see the country, too -- full-time rodeo clowns can work 60 to 100 shows per year, making an average of about $50,000 per year, according to Job Monkey.

Research chefs – If you love to cook but don't want the pressure of a stack of tickets two minutes before closing, consider the life of the research chef. With the sole purpose of creating new dishes for restaurant chains or food manufacturers, "innovation chefs" don't have to work late nights or weekends. The Research Chefs Association offers certification to chefs who have a culinary education with three to five years of experience and can pass a certification exam. Research chefs earn an average of $90,000 per year, compared to executive chefs who make about $66,000 annually, according to the American Culinary Foundation.

Process server – This is Dog the Bounty Hunter without the weapons and high-speed chases. Basically you simply hand deliver legal documents to people involved in court cases. Worst case scenario? After three unsuccessful attempts to serve the papers, you can just mail them. This is a career with a low barrier to entry – in fact, there are usually no educational requirements at all, and training is widely available. You may only have to pass a background check and have no felony convictions. Typical fees for process service range from $20 to $80, and top earners can make more than $70,000 a year.

Home stagers – Helping homeowners present their homes for sale in order to get the best price possible is the job of a home stager. Offering suggestions to improve the appearance of a home is usually just a matter of de-cluttering and rearranging. Certification programs exist, but no formal training is required. Home stagers often charge by the hour, by the room or by a set fee based on the size of the home. The hourly salary can range from $50 to $150, with typical fees totaling $75 for an initial consultation to $500 for an entire house, according to the BLS. Additional costs for improvements are passed on to the client.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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